It’s been a year since Nh­lanhla Nene was axed as fi­nance min­is­ter. The seis­mic four days that fol­lowed laid bare a new trend in cor­rup­tion: state cap­ture. 2016 has been the year of state cap­ture, where pri­vate in­ter­ests be­gan to sub­sume pub­lic power. The

CityPress - - News -

De­cem­ber 9 2015 is a typical govern­ment Wed­nes­day to­wards the end of the year – it’s balmy and hol­i­days beckon. A Cabi­net meet­ing is held to tie up loose ends. On top of the usual list of high govern­ment busi­ness is the an­nounce­ment that South Africa will pur­sue nu­clear power, but sub­ject to af­ford­abil­ity and fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies. It is a pre-Christ­mas com­pro­mise be­tween those who want full nu­clear and those who think the spend will bank­rupt the coun­try.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Nh­lanhla Nene is present at the meet­ing, which stretches into the early af­ter­noon. He leaves with his col­leagues from Cabi­net. It is, to all in­tents and pur­poses, a nor­mal Cabi­net meet­ing.

At 5.15pm, a se­nior of­fi­cial in the Trea­sury’s phone beeps. A What­sApp mes­sage: The pres­i­dency is look­ing for Nene. At 18h10, an­other mes­sage: The pres­i­dency is look­ing for deputy fi­nance min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas.

Two hours later, Nene is his­tory. Jonas is act­ing min­is­ter. Later, Jonas would re­veal that Nene’s ax­ing was no sur­prise to him as he had been of­fered his prin­ci­pal’s job for R600 000 cash and R600 mil­lion more to be paid, if he did as Ajay Gupta – the fam­ily pa­tri­arch at the cen­tre of what hap­pened in De­cem­ber last year – told him.

Anec­dotes say that as he sat out­side Pres­i­dent Jacob Zuma’s of­fice, Nene saw Zuma’s chief of staff, Lakela Kaunda, pre­pare the me­dia state­ment in­form­ing the pub­lic of his re­moval. Nene had heard ru­mours of his end and was not shocked.

Nene is re­placed by a min­is­ter whose first name is un­clear to an in­cred­u­lous na­tion when the news breaks later that Wed­nes­day evening. Is he David, Des­mond or Des van Rooyen?

It’s Des, says a par­lia­men­tary back­bencher who was mayor of the Mer­a­fong mu­nic­i­pal­ity when it went up in flames and ig­nited a na­tional bound­ary cri­sis as res­i­dents re­fused in­cor­po­ra­tion into North West. Now it’s the mar­kets that are in flames in parts of the world where they are still open and the rand tanks on the news of the putsch of Nene.


To un­der­stand state cap­ture, it is nec­es­sary to go back to an email of 2015, em­a­nat­ing from the ad­dress of Dudu Myeni, which al­leges a mas­sive white con­spir­acy hatched by apartheid busi­ness barons like the Ru­pert and Op­pen­heimer fam­i­lies, who have al­legedly taken over Na­tional Trea­sury

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